Hybrid headphone amp promises best-of-both-worlds listening experience
Many music lovers who prefer to listen through headphones rather than speakers will find that their living room hi-fi system will be able to pump out audio at a decent volume level. But if you've invested in high-impedance audiophile cans, you will almost certainly need the help of a dedicated headphone amplifier. Slovenian high-end audio gear company Erzetich has just announced its second high-end headphone amplifier – the Medousa.
Company founder Blaž Erzetič says he wasn't particularly impressed by tube-based amplifiers or balanced amps, finding the former too muddy and the latter never living up to their sound quality potential. But each has its own legion of supporters in the audiophile community, so Erzetič decided to try and combine the two designs to see what happened.
The Medousa is the result, which he describes as "a successful combination of all the benefits of 'tube' and 'balanced' amplifiers in a single efficient system."
The hybrid headphone amplifier is wrapped in an eye-catching stainless steel chassis with aged wood sides. Its gain stage rocks four 12AU7/ECC82 tubes followed by a solid-state buffer, while four monoblock modules are used to optimize symmetry between the unit's four channels.
It's designed to drive a broad range of headphones, from eight-ohm consumer ear candy all the way up to 600-ohm audiophile classics. A frequency response of 3 Hz to 145 kHz is much lower and way higher than the human ear can register, which is said to ensure more depth and vibrancy while listening. And though the Medousa is reported to perform best when in fully balanced mode, users can opt for unbalanced ins and outs if preferred.
The company says that its new headphone amplifier has a deep, wide, slightly bright and fun character, and will go on sale early next year for €3,500 (that's a bit less than US$4,300), but is currently up for pre-order until January 31, 2021, for €2,975.
Product page: Medousa